Spotlight Virtual Concert Series: A City, A Belonging featuring the poetry of Sasha Suarez
MacPhail Center for Music presents a SPOTLIGHT VIRTUAL CONCERT SERIES performance A City, A Belonging. This piece is part of a musical film trilogy (alongside Letters Home and Dissertation) that evolved from the 2021- 2022 Spotlight Concert Series.
About A City, A Belonging
A City, A Belonging is part of a film trilogy (alongside Letters Home and Dissertation) that evolved from the 2021- 2022 Spotlight Concert Series. We teamed up with three local poets of Indigenous background, curated by one of our guest artists, Anthony Ceballos, creating musical performances along their narrative content.
I am deeply grateful that I had the opportunity to work with Sasha Suarez and MacPhail teaching artist and composer Christopher Rochester, as well as all the brilliant collaborating performers. I hope that these short performance films build on the Spotlight tradition of creating inspiring, thought-provoking content, building stronger ties to our community, and perhaps most importantly, giving platform to a wide array of voices and lived experiences.
Mischa Santora, Artistic Director Spotlight Concert Series
Sasha Maria Suarez (White Earth Ojibwe) is a scholar, poet, essayist, and short story writer who currently resides in Teejop (Madison, Wisconsin) where she works as an assistant professor of history and American Indian studies. Her writing centers on urban Ojibwe experience, Indigenous history, resistance, and belonging. Her academic work is featured in Indian Cities: Histories of Indigenous Urbanism (University of Oklahoma Press).
Christopher Rochester is an African American musician, educator, and composer that has been working at the professional level for 15 years. He has studied and played with artists such as Greg Osby, George Garzone, Scotty Barnhart (current leader of the Count Basie Band), Bill Pierce, and many other musicians at the forefront of the music industry. Chris was exposed to many Black American cultural practices during his youth and was fortunate enough to be able to quickly understand how much influence that culture plays in music. This has afforded him the ability to both perform and teach in a way that shines light on the cultural influences of Black American traditions.
Charmaine Douglas is a singer, songwriter, and pianist from Saint Paul, Minnesota. A vocalist for MacPhail’s Global Music Initiative, she began teaching in early 2021 as an instructor at School of Rock, and soon found her passion for early learning. She is thrilled to be an instructor for Sing Play Learn with MacPhail®!
Kavyesh Kaviraj is a Minneapolis- based pianist, composer, and arranger from India. His versatility and experience working in various styles and genres of music makes him a valuable addition to any band. Kavyesh is a skilled and sought-after composer who brings every musical influence in his life to his original music; rooted in jazz yet encompassing not-so closely related worlds in a unique, and boundary-breaking, magnetic persona.
Mischa Santora is one of the most innovative and entrepreneurial conductors of his generation. Appointed music director of the Boston Ballet in 2018, he conducts the majority of their performances with the Boston Ballet Orchestra at the Boston Opera House. During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mr. Santora produced a number of creative audio and video projects, including compositions for soundtracks, editing and mixing of soundscapes, as well as producing, filming, and editing of musical film projects. In addition to his busy conducting schedule, Mr. Santora is the artistic director of the Minnesota Bach Ensemble, with performances at Antonello Hall. Mr. Santora’s recent composition activities include music for theatrical productions, orchestral works, and soundtracks for film, TV/radio, and podcasts. He is the founder of a promising audio start-up company SONICITY, offering customizable high-fidelity soundtracks for creative professionals.